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a blog on 'life' and other popular four letter words...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"The Bike and I are One"




Wow, what a topic…

You know, I’ve been swooning ever since I got this topic…. J

This post is on biking. Or more specifically, a post to define the Indian biker….

Biking for me has been a lot of things that I can’t really put into words. So for a change, I thought I’d keep my incredibly narcissistic side aside and have this post dedicated to some incredible people I know, or specifically some incredible bikers I know. So here’s the drill - I asked some of the avid bikers I know what biking means to them and their answers helped me understand not only what biking means to them but surprisingly also uncovered what it means to me. So here are the people and here are the answers…..

So let me start with my main man, Danny. We’ve been friends since school and has been one of my bestest buddies ever. Of course I hated him in school for the fact that he was a professional model, had a six pack way before Salman and all the women used to completely ignore me when he was around. J Danny is the first biker I know. And in my sleepy town of Kottayam, Danny was a celebrity biker - he had a black bullet with a distinct orange tool box and the sight of him beefed up in a red T shirt and dark shades was machismo at its best. Of course, now he’s a successful businessman and just before he graduated to a Honda City recently, he bought back the biking to his life with a brand new Classic 500. And he tells me that biking to him is mainly about “floating” – Dan’s logic is that in a car, one’s movement is very two dimensional – mostly straight, left or right- but on a bike, you swing and hence that feeling that one is actually flying. Add to that, the wind on the face and the obvious freedom, it’s what he loves to do to de-stress - the joy of flying, the swing, the more dimensions, the wind in the face and the freedom

For the feeling of flying, the freedom and for the wind on his face….

that is why he rides.






“There are bikes, super bikes and heavy bikes… and then there is the bullet”, says Nikhil, one of the coolest bikers I know. We worked together earlier and this guy used to diligently wait for the weekends so that he could take his bike out to explore Bangalore. He told me that in his hometown, Delhi, everybody either has a bullet or aspires for one. He’s the guy who showed me how to start the bullet without getting hurt (he says there is an art in the start!) and in the short time he was in Bangalore, he’s seen more of it on his bullet than I have. One thing he hates about Bangalore roads are the many, many speed breakers that upsets a biker’s ride. Nikhil gave me an interesting twist to biking – he told me he likes biking for the “emptiness” it brings him - every Sunday, when he takes his bullet out for a ride, for the first hour or so, his mind plays out niggling issues that need to be sorted out at office or home but after another hour, his mind just tunes out and goes blank – then it’s only him, his bike and the elements. And that experience reinvigorates him for the next 6 days. Also he likes the fact that at some of the many inhabitable places he’s been to, he’s only had to believe in himself and in God’s good humor and an incident like having a flat tire at such inhospitable places makes him a stronger man, having survived the experience.

For the emptiness, the elements and inner strength….

that is why he rides.








Meet Imran Whoz Sane – a rockstar of a dude who had a wicked, wicked dream for a long, long time. We worked in the same company till he relocated to Malaysia sometime back. And this dude went ahead and done what many of us still dream about – he went ahead and bought himself an awesome 650cc of pure brute force caged inside an elegant and stylish form also known to the world, as the Kawasaki Ninja ER-6F. Besides looking oh-so-cool and turning heads at traffic signals and when he’s burning rubber, he tells me that the reason for his ride is that he like the rush of adrenalin it gives him when he goes full throttle. He adds that he’s a recent biker and the reason he wouldn’t have bought such heavy machinery in India is mainly cos of the lack of roads and infrastructure to support his new found love.

For the adrenalin rush, the image and the dream….

that is why he rides.








When I first heard of women riders, it took me a while to believe that women could actually maneuver and handle these mean, huge bikes; but one image that got stuck in my mind was when I first saw this lady gracefully chugging along on a bullet, in all elegance and poise, evidently having tamed the bullet. And it’s said that the tribe of women riders is increasing by the day. I’m told that the reason why they ride is pretty much the same as the guys. A friend of mine who doesn’t bike (yet!) told me that she associates biking to be a masculine obsession and true to the popular maxim “why should guys have all the fun??”, she’d love to experience that testosterone rush and own a Harley one day. Another person I know is Kavita pictured above. Don’t get fooled by her looks here, but she’s a speed demon in disguise. J When she’s not negotiating narrow roads on holiday in Siliguri, or experiencing the exhilaration of getting scared like hell on the steep slopes, Kavita is usually thrilled when she finds her need for speed on wheels, both two and four.

For the joy, the josh and the joie de vivre with speed..

that is why she rides.








OK, this one totally surprised me at first but once I did a little bit of research, it was pretty obvious why this is also a reason why many people ride - quite a few guys I know got their rides purely because they couldn’t get enough of the way it sounds!!! Only few machines have the fanatic following and the ecosystem of emotions built around it like a Harley does; and one reason why Harley’s legion of fans go for it is for its sound - in fact, Harley even tried to patent its distinct and unique sound (hear the Harley’s heartbeat here). Back home, the sound is not the only reason why my friend Eashwar chose his Enfield Bullet - Eashwar is a bullet know-it-all who’s done over two lakh kilometers on his “bucket of bolts” and he believes that a bike has to be so comfortable that after riding it at 100 for a 100, one should be able to repeat the same feat the very next day comfortably – and he’s found that trait in his bullet, which he opines is the perfect blend of power, stability, reliability and also has a large supporting community of equally passionate bikers.



For the power, the brotherhood and for the roar....

that is why he rides.







So who is the Indian biker? Well, based on the small group that I’ve talked with, I’m led to believe that the Indian biker gets into biking initially for the flexibility, independence and convenience that a bike offers. But after a certain time period (this group thinks its 4 years), each biker would have discovered his riding style and his reason for biking – it could be the need for speed, to lose to the cruise or for the glide of the ride – and after this, they graduate to their next machine. For one group, this is a four wheeler and for the other, it’s two wheels. The first group usually however has a part of their selves still thrilled by the bike that they would invariably also buy a bike as a personal toy a lil later in life; and this time, the bike would be a strong expression of their individual reason to ride. And for the other group, they graduate directly to heavier and bigger two wheeled machines of their dreams. This is the Indian biker.

And they have a strong connect and attachment with their bikes, in fact some people I talked with, affectionately referred to their wheels as "sweetheart" or "my babe" and the like.  Another person likened his ride to his first love, his midwife (cos "she helped him get re-born" J), his mistress and his original love all rolled into one.  Another person quoted something pretty awesome which I used as the title of this post...

for the freedom, the independence, the elements, the adrenalin rush, the joy, the power, the journey....

That is why we ride.










This is an entry for the Castrol Power1 Blogging contest.


Do Follow my blog, Like it and Vote for me...

J

37 comments:

  1. Wow! Coolest post ever! I LOVE bike rides but I can't even cycle :( Have experienced them only by sitting behind and it has been ages that I sat behind :( Your post makes me want to learn it! Someday...I will, someday.

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    1. Hey CD!!!, long time yaar.. glad to see u here yaar :)

      Thnx fr ur kind words CD!!!.. aah, I used to be a back bencher biker with myy brother for a whie till I got my ride.. must say, its been a while since I've back bench biked :)

      Aah yes, someday.. :)

      thx fr droppin by CD!!! :)

      Delete
  2. Nice Post bro :) :) Bike Riding always a gr8 thing and enjoyable :)

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    1. Hey Ravi!!! Long, long time yaar... hope allz well on ur side man..

      I agree with u man.. bike riding is pretty much a stress buster most of the times n when its not, its just a flexible n convenient way of gettin around.. yup, enjoyable :)

      Long time Ravi... glad to see u back here man :)

      Delete
  3. nice post bro... and u made danny an online celebrity too.. I still remember his modified red bullet in CMS college, first of its kind in ktm.. and bro.. plz inbox me ur num... I lots my mob... and dint hav a back up contact list.. ;)

    shemeer

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    1. Dude Shemeer da, howz u mannn??? :) Da sorry cudnt call whn in Keral.. gt pretty busy wid stuff n cud not.. no worries.. will call in a while..

      Ya Danny boy was already a celebrity whn we found him na :) n the guy still is :) Yap, Dan's bullet was pretty much the talk of the town then :)

      Thnx machu fr droppin by aliyans.. will call in a while man :)

      Delete
  4. "There are bikes, super bikes and heavy bikes… and then there is the bullet"
    You have got awesome frnz, and 4 out of 5 ride a Bull, you knwo we have got a frn in common..Eashwer! I met him on my ride back to Mumbai from attending RM 2012 at Delhi, before Jaipur. It was our first meet, and later I came to know about what sort of rider Eashwer is :)
    You may like to visit 5th Bullet rider at his own page ;)

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    1. Hey Punit, welcum back to my blog man!! Aah, small world, eh? I'll tell Eashwar bout it ... he never told me of his own page but knowing the rider that he is, am not surprised.. glad u know him man :)

      Glad to see u back Punit n loved ur blog on "transformation" :)

      Delete
  5. I'm 41 and still don't have my own bike (or license!). I'm should go stand in a corner and feel dumb. That's one great bike you've got. I can only imagine what it sounds like and what it's like to burn that rubber. Don't remind me of six-packs. I'm down to a modest two-pack. I've never actually met a tribe of women riders. Must be quite a sight.

    P.S. Don't remind me of six-packs. I'm down to a modest two-pack.

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    1. oh RC. no, why?
      i've lost my almost-6-packs too :)

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    2. Hahaha, nah, dont feel that way RCB.. trust me, tht corner wud b pretty crowded :)

      Welcum to my blog, RCB!!! Nice t hv u here..

      n if it'll make u feel better some people refer to my tummy pack as 'family pack' :D

      Do drop by more often, RCB :)

      Delete
    3. Jaya, thw closest I got to a six pack is the beer pack in my fridge... :)

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    4. A family pack hahaha... I'll remember that one. Oh I'll be back.

      @Jaya J - I know I know... It's terrible.

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    5. Great to know that RCB.. thanks so much! :)

      Delete
  6. So now I know two things:

    The best way to learn about blogging contests is to visit Raj's blog frequently. :)
    The best way to identify Raj on the streets of Bangalore, is to look for the sexiest guy in Castrol-Indiblogger t-shirt. :)

    Just kidding brother..
    Wish you All the best for the contest man.

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    1. BTW, I wanted to add this comment to all bikers. It seems the Bullet series of bikes are like a royal family and the Bullet-owners pride themselves in being a different league altogether. I don't have a bullet myself, but whenever I hear someone boasting about having a bullet and trying to bask in its limelight, I make sure to give this answer, "So what if you have a bullet, I have the gun!"

      he he he ha ha ha ho ho ho. :)

      Delete
    2. V Dada!! Duuuudeee!!! Long time bro!!! :)

      Hope all is well on ur side man :) Thnx so much fr ur kind words man..... as usual, u always come up with one of the most interesting comments :)

      Hahahaha, I'll probably use tht the next time somebody tells me of their bullet :)

      Thnx f droppin by man.. happy to see u after long while :)

      Delete
  7. Do tell Kavitha she inspire me :)

    And biking to me is seven pure shots of adrenaline in a row\m/.

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    1. Hey PeeVee, welcum back to my blog!!! Glad to see u back!!

      Yap, did mention it to Kavita :) Aaah nice, another adrenaline junkie I meet.. awesum!!! Superbly said, PeeVee..superbly said! :)

      Do drop y more often PeeVee.. always happy to see u!

      :)

      Delete
  8. i have a phobia for bikes. i've been a pillion rider a few times with three different people and gotten into accidents three times. but i can ride a bike myself.
    my good friend, Surech, has a huge thing for bikes. he rides a Honda CBR 1000cc, and once managed to convince me to take a ride with him. all i remember is the machine roared and roared and i never hugged anyone any close than i did him then. i was shaking with adrenaline and yes, the burning rubber and the attention you get from people around you..
    but i still rather bunjee jump :) good story here

    http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?sec=central&file=/2010/4/10/central/5980067

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    1. Wow, quite a multi faceted man Suresh is.. biking, mountaineering, skydiving, tango...WoW! Wud really love to meet him one day n get a feel of what really makes him tick! :) He's truly an inspiration :)

      Nice to know you still learnt how to bike in spite of havin a phobia fr it..bravo, really :)

      Thnx fr droppin by Jaya.. nice to see u back :)

      Delete
  9. WOW, I never read such a post ever!
    Full of zest and passion!
    And every time it said "this is why he/she rides"..
    a sense of satisfaction prevailed to the point!
    AWESOME post!:)
    All the best for contest anyways..
    Superb post once again:D

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    1. Wow!! :)

      Welcum to my blog Kinara n thnx soo much for ur very kind words.. made my day after readin ur comment :)

      Am glad u felt like so.. really happy to know that :)

      do drop by more often Kinara.. wud love to have u around.. n thanks so much!!

      :)

      Delete
  10. yeh bullet meri jaan manziloon ka nishaan :)

    beautiful post RAJ loved reading it , brought so many memories of those uphill Gedi's on bikes .. THIS IS WHY WE RIDE :)

    come to uk for a visit I will take you biking on the jolly good BULLET :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Hey Bikram, thnx fr ur very kind words man.. missed u man.. glad u're back :)

      Haha, I will hold on on tht offer whenever I come over to the UK :)

      Do drop by more often dost :)

      Delete
  11. what a robust ride given to the pen. I can feel you enjoyed writing every word.
    just fantabulous.

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    1. Pramodji, glad to see u here n as usual, always happy to see ur kind n supporting words :)

      Do drop by more often, Pramodji :)

      Thnx so much :)

      Delete
  12. NIce to read through the different perspectives of different bikers.

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    1. Hi Ramakant, welcom to ma blog.. glad u liked it :)

      Do drop by more often,Ramakant :)

      Delete
  13. Hey Raj,

    This is Anaa, writing to you on behalf of Castrol Power 1. In a once in a lifetime opportunity filled with thrill and acceleration, we are choosing 7 lucky winners as Castrol Power Bikers who get to go on an adventurous road trip sponsored by Castrol Power 1. It’s going to be a journey driven by fuel, excitement, exhilaration and adrenaline.

    Bikers need to submit a thrilling story of their road trip through the Facebook application http://on.fb.me/CastrolPowerBiker and get their friends and biker gangs to vote for them. Contestants will be shortlisted on the basis of number of votes received as well as through the decision of a panel of expert bikers.

    25 finalists will be selected from the applicants after which a final of 7 winners will be declared on the 19th of June. These 7 lucky bikers get a chance to let loose, accelerate and ride into the wind down the road of their choice for a thrill that they will never forget.

    We know that your blog is a great platform to connect with a lot of ardent bikers who follow it dedicatedly and it would be fantastic if you could help us spread the message about this thrilling chance. The passion of your blogs is a definite reflection of your love for the wheels and we know that you're also pumped at the idea of this road trip. So do submit some of your great stories and you may just find yourself kicking the side stand after all.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers!

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    1. Hi Anaa,

      Welcome to my blog :)
      Truly honored to be part of something like you have suggested. Just checked the facebook link .. would love to participate.. I'm thinking of something to fit in so many words..

      Thanks for the opportunity n for letting me know, Anaa :)

      Do drop by more often Anaa :)

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  14. Congratulations for winning Raj :) Keep up the good work :)

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    1. Thanks Sonia for your kind, kind words.. really appreciate ur support.. humbled :)

      Delete
  15. You are the boss. Please wear the jacket and upload a pic for all your fans on your blog. :)

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    1. Hahaha! Definitely will do man.. Bro, if u in Bangalore, less ketchup man :)

      warwinrules@gmail.com

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  16. Loved it Raj . . .Guess what since the time I was small , my family had either esdeee or bullet n I used to sit on the tank like all small kids. I was dieing for abgood height to ride a bike but luck didnt favour n I am just 5 but man try beating me on my scooty n it shall be a game for you.

    Thanls again Raj for reviving my old love.

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  17. Welcome to my blog my friend! :)

    Wow, glad that you feel that way.. hahaha, I'll take ur word on the Scooty my friend... my immediate two wheeler dream is to buy a heavy bike soon and Inshal Allah! I should very soon :)

    Thanks so much for making my day my friend.. do drop by more often :)

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